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Mr. Bateson's numerous notes on the Middle English 
Clannesse (Mod. Lang. Rev., xiii, pp. 377-86) renew 
interest in that curious, though often tantalizing poem. 
Worthy of acceptance, it seems to me, are those on lines 
3, 30, 54, 222, 341, 379, 411, 449, 553, 630, 1048, 1261, 
1483, 1566, 1735, a considerable list. About as many 
others are equally good, but have been proposed before. 
For example, the Ndw Eng. Diet, has anticipated Mr. 
Bateson in his suggestions for lines 148, 214, 887, 1038, 
1469, while the Cent. Did. had preceded the NED in the 
note on line 1514. Besides, the NED seems to be mis- 
quoted on ty^t (1153) and penitotes (1472). The former 
is certainly given tinder tight, v. 2, with this passage 
among others. Nor have I found where the NED reads 
ryther for ryth of 1543. 

In fact one wonders that Mr. Bateson has so greatly 
restricted his reading before commenting on the poem. 
Had he examined the article of Professor Skeat, to which 
I called attention in reviewing his edition of Patience 
{Mod. Lang. Notes, xxviii, p. 171), he would scarcely 
have written his remarks on lines 48 and 1075, while he 
might have added Skeat's valuable notes on lines 40, 41, 
889, 1383, 1405. Had he used Morris's revised edition 
of the Alliterative Poems (1869), instead of the first edi- 
tion (1864), he would not have made his suggestions upon 
lines 765 and 935, and he might not have erred in his 
proposal for line 1747, to which I shall call attention 
later. This failure to use the revised Morris is more sur- 
prising, since in my review of his Patience I pointed out 
five cases in which his textual errors were due to following 



the earlier edition.^ Again, had Mr. Bateson done me 
the honor to read my articles in Mod. Lang. Bev., x, p. 
373 and Mod. Laiig. Notes, xxsi, p. 1, he need scarcely 
have repeated the suggestions on lines 820 and 1520. 

While noting these failures of Bateson to give credit to 
others, it seems well to mention important annotations on 
the poem by C. F. Brown in Publ. of Mod. Lang. Ass'n, 
XTX, p. 149 ; F. Holthausen in Archiv fur die Neueren 
Sprachen, cvi, p. 349 ; and A. T. Bodtker in Mod. Lang. 
Notes, XXVI, p. 127. To this growing body of illustrative 
material the following notes may perhaps make some addi- 
tions, as well as some further corrections to Mr. Bateson's 
article. The numbers refer to the lines of the poem and, 
unless otherwise stated, to the revised edition of Morris. 
So also references to Bateson are to the article mentioned 
above. ^ 

17-22. Morris has missed the punctuation and sense. 
The sentence closes with the latter line, and a comma at 
most should be placed after line 20. 

39. Should not Jielded be helde, pr. subj., meaning 
' should incline to (approach) the table ' ? See schulde he 
lialden of 42. 

63-70. The poem follows the more vivid account of 

' The later edition has differences in text, notes, and glossary, as 
does not seem to be generally known. Even the WBD, under tevel, 
quotes the older tenel from the first edition, rather than the later 

'Since this paper was written and accepted for publication Mr. 
GoUanez, in Mod. Lang. Rev., xiv, 152, has noticed Bateson's article 
and anticipated me in some suggestions. Where Gollancz and I 
wholly agree I have added a (G) at the close of my note, or to that 
portion with which he agrees. In other cases I have discussed his 
suggestions by additions to my original material. As I read proof, 
the notes of E. Ekwall (Eng. Stud, xlix, p. 483) have just come to 


Luke in the excuses made, rather than the more concise 
statement of Matthew. 

64. The reading should be aU-tyd ' at once, immedi- 
ately,' as indicated in the glossary. 

69. Bateson's emendation of the form sower to swer 
is unnecessary, since ow is used for w in several other 
cases in the poem ; cf . dowyne. Pearl, 326, dowelled. Clan., 
376 and 1196, wyndowande, 1048. The form swer beside 
swor is found in the preterit. 

72. Morris's change of the ms. plate to place is need- 
less, since plate ' place, situation ' is possible. The NED 
gives no ME. example, but quotes Phaer's ^neid vii T 
ii b, and the Eng. Dial. Diet, shows it is still dialectal in 
this sense in various parts of England, especially the North 
Midland. Such a compound as grass-plat (plot) in stand- 
ard English preserves the short form of the same word. 

106-7. Bateson's new punctuation of 107 is correct, 
but he has missed the meaning. Denounced me nojt 
means ' announced (proclaimed, accepted) me not,' in 
accord with the earlier meaning of denounce. The words 
are thus equivalent to renayed hahbe in the previous 
line (Gr.). The NED cites this pasage with the questioned 
meaning of renounce, but quotes without no^t, which in 
the older reading was placed in the second half line. 

110. Morris proposed is before demed, but it is not 
necessary. The phrase f'at demed modifies dede as an 

117. & ay a segge soerly semed by her wede^. 
Morris suggested soberly for soerly, but that does not clear 
up the passage. The plural lede^ of 116 and her wede^ 
of this show that a plural is intended, and soerly is proba- 
bly serly ' severally, individually.' I therefore suggest, 

& ay as segges serly semed by her wedej. 


The two lost s's have coalesced with those of the following 
and preceding words. The distribution according to rank, 
— ^here the clothing indicating rank, — is thoroughly charac- 
teristic of an English feast, though somewhat at variance 
with the Scripture story. 

119. for-knowen ' known before.' The meaning is, 
' Men in the company, known before to be clean (excel- 
lent), were few.' 

127. Morris changes the ms. poueuer to poueren un- 
necessarily. The scribe has repeated toe here, one of his 
numerous similar repetitions. The correct form is pouer 
as in Pearl, 1075, or pouere as in lines 615 and 1074. 

168. Morris suggests fowle for sowle, but needlessly. 
Perhaps the same as sowly with y for final e. Both NED 
and EDD cite a verb sowl ' soil, pollute ' ; cf. Sch. sule 
vb. ' soil.' 

201. Bateson's proposal to read so^t on soundely for 
so^t unsoundely can scarcely be correct. If un were the 
adverb on, modifying so^t, it would bear the stress and 
destroy the alliteration, as it bears the stress in the pas- 
sage from Layamon's Brut which Bateson cites. Besides, 
unsoundely may easily have an appropriate meaning. In 
Patience, 58, and I think in 527, the adj. unsounde is 
used as a substantive in the sense of ' misfortune, evil,' 
that is ' unhealthiness ' to the person implied. Here the 
adv. has the meaning of ' unsoundly,' not in relation to 
Grod the avenger, but to the victim ; I suggest ' harshly, 
grievously ' (6.). 

204-8. The punctuation is unfortunate. The sentence 
closes with line 204, and the end of the next line should 
have a comma, carrying on the sentence to the end of 
line 208. 

211. tra mountayne, tramountayne in the first edition. 
The glossary in both cases badly misses the meaning of 


OF. trwmontaigne ' pole star/ here ' north ' in general. 
The common medieval notion, based on a misinterpreta- 
tion of Is., 14, 13-4; see Skeat's excellent note to Piers 
Plow., B I, 118, although he does not cite this passage. 
Quotation marks belong at end of 212. 

215. Bateson has missed the point, I think. The first 
Ms refers to the devil, the second to God : ' The Lord 
drove him to the abyss according to the measure of his 
(the devil's pride), his (God's) measure (of punishment) 
nevertheless, except he lost ' etc. Mesure and me(>e, which 
Bateson proposes because it occurs frequently in allitera- 
tive union, is paralleled perhaps quite as often by mesure 
and met^, that is m^ts, OE. gemet ' measure.' 

GoUancz cannot be right, I think, in proposing an un- 
known OF. mes from the verb amesen ' moderate,' nor is 
his suggestion necessary with the proposal above. 

222. GoUancz confirms from the ms. Bateson's conjec- 
ture of sweved, but rightly opposes his alteration to 
sweyed. Sweved would correspond to an OE. *swcefan, 
parallel to ON. sveiva, the latter used in Patience, 253. 

224. For fylter read fyUer(ed) ; cf. line 1689. 

225. Bateson's note on stynt ne my^t is one of the 
most important of his article, especially for its examples 
of similar uses of ne. The late Mr. G. C. Macaulay, in 
writing of my note on Pat., 231 (Mod. Lang. Notes, xxxi, 
p. 1), expressed the opinion that the difiiculty was not so 
great as I had assumed, and added : 

" I am sure that many instances could be collected 
of this kind of echo of a preceding negative in a clause 
to which it does not properly belong." 
He then cites Haveloh, 722-3 and 2975-7. It is clear that 
there should be a fuller examination of the usage. 

One may agree with GoUancz that the idiom may be due 


to " confusion of two constructions," without agreeing that 
he has sufficiently explained Patience, 231 in his " special 
note " to that passage. 

226. for-f'ikJce should be for ^ihhe, the adjective as a 
substantive, a use so common in these poems. For a 
modern example, compare the thick of the woods. 

230. Bateson proposes for wraf'ed a word not known 
to exist. Is there not contrast between ivyj and turech, 
God and the devil ? Cf. ^e wy^e f>at al wro^t in lines 280 
and 284. 

Gollancz's change to wroth seems to me unnecessary. 
Wrathed occurs in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, 
2420, where it has the meaning ' be beguilded, deceived.' 
The primitive meaning of OE. wraSian, ME. ivrathen 
as well as wrgthen, should be ' become twisted or turned,' 
from which both ' be deceived ' and ' be angry ' are possi- 
ble derivatives. The primitive meaning ' twist, turn ' 
may also have persisted and explain this passage in 
Clamiesse. Wrathed not f>e wy^ would then mean ' God 
(('e wyj) turned (changed) not.' This is the meaning of 
the emended verb Gollancz assumes, although he regards 
wy^ as referring to Satan. As I have said above I think 
there is contrast between ivy^, here ' God,' and f>e wrech 
' the wretch,' that is Satan. Morris glossed wrech in this 
place as if it were wrache ' vengeance,' as in the preceding 
line, but in other places in the poems correctly as ' wretch.' 

243. forgart. The meaning ' forfeit,' justified by ON. 
usage, is better than 'ruin ' here and in Pearl, 321. 

257-62. In his notes Morris proposed two changes, 
forme-fostere^ for line 257 and lede^ for line 261. Bate- 
son rightly opposes the first, but would add an unneces- 
sary on before (>e folde. The passage is clear as it stands, 
if we assume the meaning * first generation ' or ' offspring ' 
for forme-foster, as does the Ct, Diet, which quotes this 


passage under foster (G.). The general term is made more 
concrete by the next line. The word lede in 261 refers 
to Seth, the next after Adam to have children recognized 
in the Scripture genealogies; cf. Gen., 5, 3, Luke, 3, 38, 
the poetical OE. Genesis, 114Y, on the last of which my 
fuller note has now appeared in the Mod. Lang. Bev., xiv, 

265-8. Holthausen's note mentioned at the beginning 
of this paper is not adequate. To it should be added the 
explanation of Petrus Comestor, that the films homimwi 
of the Vidgate were de stirpe Cain et victi concupiscentia. 
To this Methodius, referred to by Petrus, had joined the 
further implication of Sodomy. Our poet, however, does 
not make the filii Dei sons of Seth, and religiosi, as in the 
Historia Scholastica, but fendes, as noted below. 

269. fende. The form should be fendes to agree with 
a common medieval interpretation of Gen., 6, 2, by which 
filii Dei of the Vulgate were regarded as the fallen angels ; 
see my ' Legends of Cain ' (Publ. of Mod. Lang. Ass'n, 
XXI, p. 920). For the plural form cf. fende^ of line 221. 

271. fallen. We should probably read fellen (or 
felle), the past plural as in Pearl, 1120. If not a mis- 
reading of the MS. the form seems here to have been 
thought a past participle after wern of the preceding line. 
There is nothing in any interpretation known to me that 
would make possible the subject defter of (>e doupe. 

313. Bateson's explanation of dryven as of a rare 
meaning seems to me needless. Is it any other than 
' made, prodiiced by the process of the work ' ? 

Gollancz is quite too general in his translation, it seems 
to me. Endentur, which probably should be endenture^, 
may refer to any opening left in the biiilding and requir- 
ing " daubing " with pitch. Can it also refer to the 
holes left by the pins or nails which bind together the 


overlapping boards of the ark ? In the picture of the boat 
from which Jonah is thrown (GoUancz's Patience) these 
holes are plainly indicated, and these might explain the 
poet's dryven. 

The NED gives the meaning ' jointing by means of 
notches or indentations ' with this one passage as an exam- 
ple, but with exactly what idea I can not see. If the boat 
was clinker built, as in the picture in Patience — see Gol- 
lancz's edition — a cross section of the side would appear 
something like teeth, the original meaning of the Old 
French word endenteure(-ure) . 

322. GoUancz's suggestion that boske^ is a mistake for 
hoskine^ (see his note on 1075) seems unnecessary in view 
of what is said of the animals when they leave the ark; 
compare line 530 f. 'Soah merely provided hoshe^ for 
such animals as usually lived in them, another bit of the 
poet's realistic addition to the Scripture. 

341. While I agree with Gollancz that it is not neces- 
sary to hyphen god man because of the alliteration, I 
think it more than likely the word is a true compound, 
and for the reason Bateson suggested, that is a " designa- 
tion of civility." 

399. The first edition of the Alliterative Poems has 
no & after fere, and the notes to the second edition still 
retain that reading. I assume, however, that the text of 
the second edition, fere &, is correct. 

408. sprawlyng. Morris gives no meaning, and Brad- 
ley-Stratmann only ' sprawl.' The meaning ' struggle ' is 
here necessary. 

421. For flote read floted, to agree with the tense of 
drof in line 416. 

433-4. Gollancz passes over the diiBculties of these 
lines too easily, it seems to me. To gloss ro^ly as ' rough ' 
without accoLinting for the form is not helpful, and I do 



not find ro^ly recorded. Besides, why should it be ' rough 
for the remnant ' because of the loss of life mentioned in 
the preceding lines? What basis is there for GoUancz's 
'mixed up pell-mell within'? So joyst, which both he 
and Bateson translate ' thus lodged ' without otherwise 
explaining the word, is apparently a past participle of ME. 
joissen (cf. rejoissen) ' rejoiced, glad,' and the line means 
' within which all species so happy were joined together.' 
This again would seem to require in ro^ly some such idea 
as Morris suggested by conjecturing rwly ' sorrowful,' or 
Skeat who proposed ' pleasant, glad,' as the meaning. 

ME. joissen remains in Scotch and is cited for Lanca- 
shire by the EDD : " To be peaceably bruiked, joysid, set, 
used, and disposed upon." In support of the conjecture 
of Morris it may be said that, in the Cursor Mundi account 
of the flood, ISToah pities the drowning people and even 
prays for their souls. 

455. f>at rebel wat^ ever. Hebrew legend (Ginzberg, 
Legends of the Jews, i, p. 163) says that the raven rebelled 
at going from the ark, and proclaimed his hostility to both 
God and Noah, the former for placing him among the 
unclean animals. The raven even accused Noah of trying 
to get rid of him for personal reasons. St. Ambrose later 
used the raven and dove as types of evil and excellence. 
Compare Liber de Noe et Area, cap. xviii : " Ut corvus 
malitiam, sic virtutem columba exprimit." 

456. corbyal untrwe. Bateson assumes the form must 
have been corbel, perhaps influenced by Northern corbie. 
In spite of the appearance of corbel in Oaw., 1355, I 
propose here corby al untrwe as a simpler settlement of the 
difiiculty (G). The al untrive would agree with the rebel 
tvatj ever in the preceding lines, besides being fully ex- 
plained by Hebrew legend, as quoted in the preceding note. 
It is emphasized in the OE. Genesis, 1446 f., and in 


Cursor Mundi, 1881-96. The latter shows that the raven 
had already become a type of the negligent or even traitor- 
ous messenger (1893-4), an idea which is especially ex- 
pressed in Holland's Houlaie: " How Corbie messenger 
. . . taryit as a traitour (812). The Houlate (or Howlat) 
was written about 1450, somewhat less than a century 
after Clannesse. 

459. croukes . . . carayne. The story of the carrion, 
a part of the Hebrew legend, is found in the OE. Genesis 
and in Wyntoun's Original Chronicle, 413-16. Holthausen 
notes only that Petrus Comestor {Hist. Schol., cap. xxxiv) 
gives it as one explanation of the raven's not returning: 
" forte interceptus aquis, vel inveniens supernatans 
cadaver in aquis est illectus eo." St. Augustine knew the 
story (JDialogus Qivaestionum, Ixv, Migne, 40, col. T50), 
the probable source of Petrus : " Cqrvus ut non rever- 
teretur, aut aquis interceptus est, aut alicui cadaveri 
illectus insedit." The punctuation should be a comma 
after 459 and semicolon after 460, rather than the reverse. 

With the passage may be compared the account of the 

deluge in the Old French Mistere du Viel Testament 

(Societe des Anciens Textes Frangais), i, 6021, where 

Sem says to Noah : 

Le corbeau est fin et ruse, 
Peult estre qu'il c'est abuse 
A la charongne. 

469. Morris reads doune, but the correct reading is 
doubtless douve here and dowve in line 485. In 481, in 
which Morris reads dovene, we should probably read dove 
on the assumption that ve has been repeated by scribal 

491. dry3ed. I suggest dry^ehed ' tediousness, dreari- 

515. Alle pe mukel mayny molde. Morris's on before 


molde is not needed. Mayny is maine witli y for the final 
vowel, and means ' great, powerful.' There may be scribal 
confusion with mayny ' company,' but that word regularly 
appears with ey, not ay, in these poems. With this inter- 
pretation the line is nearer the Vulgate Oen., 8, 21 : 
" IsTequaquam ultra maledicam terrae propter homines." 

521. The imperative plurals in -es of all the other 
verbs in the passage require menske^ in this line. 

550. Bateson opposes Morris's introduction of ne 
before sytte^, and the clause may mean only ' so that he 
is unchaste (sits unclean),' explaining the preceding ex- 

Gollancz's interpretation, ' that fits him uncleanly,' 
takes no account of the fact that in this poet ' uncleanly ' 
should be represented by unclanly (unclanlych) ; compare 
clanly in Pearl, 2, clanlych in Clannesse, 264, 310, 1089, 
1327. Nor does Gollancz's reading of me (553) as an 
ethic dative seem to me correct, pat schewe me scJiale 
means 'that shall show me (point me out, reveal me),' a 
not uncommon use of schewe. 

571. pat has probably been introduced from the pre- 
ceding line and should be omitted. 

578. The comma should be after na^t, not after hym. 

590. Morris suggests ^er for pre, but the alliteration 
requires a stronger word, pre may be OE. f'rea ' rebuke, 
correction, punishment.' The line carries out the idea of 
588, that no deed can escape God's sight, or just retribu- 

599. draw allyt. In his notes Morris anticipated 
Bateson's alyt ' a. little.' The latter has otherwise miscon- 
ceived the line. Draw means ' draw out, delay,' and draw 
a lyt is in contrast with drepe^ in hast. 

It is not clear to me why Gollancz is so sure the ms. 


cdlyt is intentional, at least without justification of the 
statement from other examples of the idiom. 

629. cobhous. Bateson's suggestion makes the word a 
tautological compound — cattleshed-house. This may be 
right, but I suggest an alternative which would avoid the 
difficulty. If cob really equals citi>, it may be the word 
applied to small ones of the animal kingdom, first the fox, 
bear, wolf, dog, and perhaps as here the calf. The 
Vulgate has armentum ' cattle shed,' but as Abraham took 
a vitulum, and that tenerrimum et optimum — the tender 
& rwt to^e of line 630 — the poet may well have known 
that it probably was not in an ordinary cattle shed. 

I leave the suggestion above, although if GoUancz is 
right that the ms. reads cov-hcms ' cow-house ' no comment 
is necessary on the passage. Morris plainly prints cobhous 
in both editions, but gives in the margin the suggested 
reading which Gollancz now says appears in the original 

636-7. The punctuation shows that Morris misunder- 
stood the lines. Mete of 637 is not OE. mste ' meat, food,' 
but OE. m&te ' meet, fit.' It therefore modifies messe^ 
of mylke, and begins a new sentence, a semicolon at least 
being necessary at the close of 636. The meat of the feast 
is the potage of 637. 

654. The suggestion of Morris to change sothly to 
softly or sotly is unnecessary. The words were true 
enough to Sarah. For the spelling see sothful in Pearl, 

655. for tykel f>at ('on tonne mo3te3. The NED puts 
tykel under tickle adj. meaning 'fickle, unreliable,' but 
the word also means ' pleasant, wanton.' I conceive it is 
here an adjective used as a substantive in the latter sense, 
and translates the Vulgate voluptati of Sarah's speech in 
Oen., 18, 12. For tonne no adequate explanation has been 


found, and I suggest it may be a misreading of teme 
' bring forth.' The last two words of the line should 
translate or paraphrase the Latin operant daho. 

695-6. Holthausen (reference above) thinks based on 
Petrus Comestor, Hist. ScJwl., cap. 52 : " nsque ad igno- 
miniosam Uhidinem proruperunt." A better source, as 
more specific, is Oen., 19, 5 and Bom., 1, 24 f., passages 
which St. Augustine treats together in his discussion of 
' Sodomia,' Migne, 40, col. 1326. Pylter of 696 should 
be fylterej; cf. line 224. 

721, Now fyfty should be Now if fyfty, to correspond 
with the Scripture story, 

730. & is here, as in 864 and 1027, and 'if.' Cf. 
and in the same sense in 739. 

752. if my lorde, if he. The first if should be of. 

771. This most interesting addition to the Bible ac- 
count of Abraham's intercession seems to be wholly original 
with the English poet. At least it is not recorded in 
Ginzberg's Legends of the Jews, or in any other place so 
far as I have found. It deserves to rank with the human- 
izing of the Abraham-Isaac story in the Brome play. The 
word melee must be a verb meaning ' be meek or merciful,' 
a meaning justified by the Norse verb myhja. Mayster 
should then be separated as a word of address. In 772 
lef hrother is a strengthening of the relation of uncle to 
nephew in the Bible. 

791. brere flour. The ' briar flower ' is doubtless the 
white heath, erica arhorea. Brere flour should be a com- 

795. We are indebted to Gollancz for the revised read- 
ing aucly for the printed autly. To his earlier instances 
of the word may be added from Brad-Strat. that of 
Promipt. Parv., auhli ' sinistre, perverse.' 

799. If the verb is to be introduced, it should probably 


be in the form saytj, as in line 75, Pearl, 457, or perhaps 
says as in Pearl, 459. 

819-21. The words should be quoted, since they are 
the exact speech of Lot. A colon should close line 818. 

827. scelt. Apparently ON. skella ' clash,' also ' laugh 
loudly (as in scorn), scold,' or some derivative of skjalla 
with similar meaning. 

846. jestende sorje. No change seems necessary in 
the last word. The first can scarcely be from OE. gcbstan, 
as Morris suggests, since it would then have had g not ^ 
as its initial. If from OE. gest ' yeast ' the meaning seems 
hardly strong enough, and no verb from that word is re- 
corded. It has not been noticed, I think, that the form 
might come from OE. Vstan ' storm, rage ' through shorten- 
ing and subsequent modification of the vowel. An OE. 
gist ' storm ' is recorded in Toller-Bosworth, though with- 
out reference, but the changes suggested are not impossible. 
A meaning ' raging ' would admirably fit the passage. 

Grollancz's attempt to connect sor^e with the word in 
Patience 275 is unnecessary, since sor^e ' sorrow ' occurs 
several times in the poems and would here be appropriate 
to the Sodomites because of the frustration of their de- 

848. I agree with Gollancz that Bateson's proposal of 
OF. hriche is not needed. I suggest that OE. bryce 
' breakable, worthless, bad ' may here be a substantive 
' evil.' GoUancz's idea of up-hrayde^ as two words seems 
equally needless, since the meaning ' hurl up, throw up ' 
would be practically the same in either case. The allitera- 
tion and stress is also clearly on hraydej as we should 
expect if part of a compound. 

855. wonded no wof'e. The meaning is ' refrained 
from, turned from,' not ' delay, cease ' as Morris in glos- 


sary; cf. OE. wandian. Alias of 953 should be enclosed 
in quotation marks, as spoken by Lot. 

912. End of speech, and quotation marks needed. 

915. hem should be hym. 

945. kayre-ne con. Morris's form of the first word, in 
his glossary assumed to be an infinitive hayrene, is impos- 
sible. Bjorkman, Scandinavian Lcmn-Words in Middle 
English, p. 64, gives to kayre a meaning ' return ' as well 
as ' go,' and this admirably fits this pasage. We should 
therefore read kayre ne con ' can not return.' The change 
to the past tense in floiven is not strange for this writer. 

956. swe. The suggestion of sweyed by Morris per- 
haps led the NED to assume a form swey, OE. *swegan 
' go, move.' That the form should be past tense is clear 
from the parallel gorde of the next line. The natural 
past tense of the ms. word would be sived, corresponding 
to sued in Gaw., 501, 1Y05. Nor is swe ' follow, pursue, 
chase,' as in Layamon's B7-ut, 16437, Gloucester's Ohron. 
(Eolls), 2941, at all impossible. So also swyed in line 
87, each possible from OF. svsr, suir. From these must 
of course be separated forms with ey, e^, like swey, swe^, 
which may represent the OE. verb mentioned above as 
probably existing. It is not clear from Bateson's note 
whether he had the OF. verb in mind, but his emendation 
is unnecessary it seems to me. 

Professor Ekwall {Eng. Stud., xlix, p. 483) would 
make swe OE. sweog, without accounting for the lack of 
diphthong or the loss of final g. 

958. Abdama & Syboym. Clearly based on the names 
of the destroyed cities in the Vulgate Deui., 29, 23 — 
" Adama et Seboim." They are not mentioned in Genesis 
19 (but see Gen., 14, 2) or in Petrus Oomestor, but the 
Aldama cited by Bateson from Mandeville's Travels is 
probably only one of several transformations. 


961-2. It is not strange that f^e helle should here be 
masculine and referred to by he in the next line. The 
passage would then mean ' For when hell heard the hounds 
of heaven (that is the winds of 948, thunder of 953, per- 
haps rain of 953), he was suddenly glad, unfolded 
(opened) at once.' The he of 963 would also refer to hell 
or the devil. Hounde^ of heven is a iine figure, one might 
almost think handed down from heathen times. Hell is 
made a person also in the OE. Nicodemus, xxvi^ and in 
Curs. Mund., 18025, so that the personal use in this pas- 
sage is not exceptional. 

979 f. A number of extra-biblical items. Of Lot's 
wife, f'at never hode heped is explained in 996 f. Over 
her lyfte shulder (981) is perhaps the earliest recorded 
example of this expression, here apparently indicating ill- 
fortune. And so ho ^et standee (984) is qvioted from 
Petrus Comestor who himself mentions Josephus as his 
source. Pay slypped hi & sy^e Mr not (985) is perhaps 
the poet's own explanation of a point not cleared up by 
the Scripture narrative. The reference in 1000 appears 
in Hebrew legend (Ginzberg i, 255) : " The pillar exists 
unto this day. The cattle lick it all day long, and in the 
evening it seems to have disappeared, but when morning 
comes it stands there as large as before." 

1003. Morris adds so needlessly before much. He 
has taken nomon as no mon ' no man,' but it is equal to 
numen pp. ' taken.' For -on equals -en see schepon, that 
is schepen ' stable ' in 1076. 

1035. angre. Morris suggests augre for aigre ' sharp,' 
but with a question. The word is merely the adj. angre 
in an older meaning ' troublesome, annoying.' 

1037. waxlokes. In explaining this passage C. F. 
Brown (Puhl. Mod. Lang. Ass'n, xix, 151) translates this 


word as ' wax lumps.' It is perhaps nearer to OE. locc 
' lock,' since the sticky mass might easily suggest hair. 

1040. festred bones. Morris suggested festres, but 
the past participle from a ME. festren with the meaning 
' putrify, rot ' better suits the place. The NED gives no 
quotation with that meaning before 1540, but earlier use 
in that sense is entirely possible. 

1053. dene layh should be clenelayh ' purity, chas- 
tity,' Orm's clwnle^^c. This Orm uses of Mary in Vol. i, 
85, 86, 159, beside clcennesse on the same page. Allitera- 
tion on the secondarily stressed element of the compound 
is not uncommon; cf. wayferende (79), overpwert (1084), 
Nabiffo~de-7io^er (1312), and many others. 

1057. Clopyngel. The passage in Rom. of Base is 
2159-2852 (ME. version 2175-2950). There is little in 
the god of love's speech which has to do with the subject 
of this poem, although the lover is asked at the beginning 
to put aside villainy and pride. 

1076. schroude hous. The word is a compound 
schroude-hous, corresponding to Icl. shrud-hus ' vestry,' 
and we may doubtless assume ' tiring house of priests ' as 
the meaning here. 

1092. ungoderly. The form has not been explained, 
but as a Scandinavian word with final (even inflectional) 
r was occasionally borrowed in that form, this may be 
based on Scand. goS-r, influenced by ME. god ' good.' 
Cf. ME. Tia^er, ha^herrle^^c, Tiajherrlihe, and Bjorkman, 
Scand. Loan-Words in Middle English, p. 17. The mean- 
ing of the word is clearly ' ungoodly, evil.' 

1099. also-tyd. Should be al so tyd ' all so quickly.' 

1111. sovly. The change by Morris to soverly is tin- 
necessary. A verb soivl has remained to Modern English 
in the sense required. See sowle in 168, of which this may 
be a variant with final y for e. 


1123. & wax ever. The suggestion of Morris, in his 
notes, that we should read <& wax ho ever seems necessary. 

1124. in pyese. Morris's interpretation ' whole ' 
seems justified, in spite of Bateson's reference to Pliny. 
That pearls are broken, scaled off, and otherwise divided 
may easily have been known to the English poet. 

If, as Gollancz suggests, pyese is OF. pais ' peace,' I 
conjecture some medieval reference to human influence 
upon the pearl. The passage would then mean, it retains 
its lustre while " in peace," but loses it when not cherished 
(1125) ; it regains it when washed in wine "with wor- 
ship (renewed appreciation)" as in line 1127. Yet some 
search has not yet revealed any medieval basis for this idea. 

1127. wasch ... in wyn. Pearls are still cleaned 
with a dilute solution of alcohol (Booh of the Pearl by 
Kunz and Stevenson, p. 396), and a sour wine might have 
been used for the same purpose in the Middle Ages. 

1141. pene efte lastes hit likkes. Morris makes lastes 
a verb, but it may better be the noun lasie ' fault, evil ' : 
' Then again evil it likes,' that is ' if it likes evil ' etc. 
In the next line ('ewes must be ^eves, as Morris suggests 
with a question. The noun laste occurs in Pat., 198. 

1165. forloyne. Should be forloyned, as in 282. 

1226. noble. Probably should be nobles; of. fende = 
fendes (269). 

1234. tuyred. The NED assumes the word is tyrved, 
as in 630 and Gollancz now agrees. Such an assumption 
makes no attempt to account for the form, or the manner 
in which it came to exist. I suggest it may be for OE. 
teorian ' tire, cause to fall, weaken,' since the poet some- 
times uses uy for OE. eo before r, as in buyrne {Pat, 
340) beside the commoner hurne ' man,' and commonly 
for i, as in huyde ' hide,' huy, ' ky, cows.' The meaning 


of OE. teorian would suit as well as ME. tirven, or may 
we not say better ? In the line tome should be toi-ned. 

1267. hokyllen. The sense requires the past tense of 
some verb, so that if the suggestion of Morris in his gloss- 
ary is to be taken it should be holkhed as in 1222. But the 
meaning of that word, ' gouge out, hollow out ' does not 
well suit. I propose hom hylled ' struck them ' assuming 
that ho should have the bar above indicating m or n. 

1291. numnend. Morris's conjecture nwmmeti 'taken' 
must be right, and that form of numen occurs in Pat. 76. 

1303. modey moder chylde. The last two words should 
be a compound, moder-chylde, as in King Horn, 664 and 
other places. ISTote how the reading as a compound im- 
proves the matter, as in the case of brere- flour (791), and 
schroude-hous (1076). 

1336. ne no. Clearly should be ne on, as Morris con- 

1358. vouche on a vayment. Bateson labors too un- 
necessarily on the passage. In his notes to the second 
edition Morris had put together avayment, glossing it 
' exhibition ' (Gr.). On may be an ' an ' without change 
of form, as in Pearl, 9, 530, 869. In our idiom the words 
mean no more than ' make an exhibition.' 

1381. wunder wro^t. Bateson suggests a compound, 
comparing OE. wunder-weorc. The comparison is unfor- 
tunate, since wunder in the oldest period was a sb. In 
Middle English, however, it became an adj.-adv., and as 
the latter it here properly modifies tvro^t; cf. Chaucer's 
ivonder nyce in Troil., ii, 24. 

1381. wruxeled. Morris glosses ' raised,' but ' varied ' 
better follows the meaning of the OE. verb. Here we may 
assume ' ornamented ' as the slightly modified sense. 

1384. umbe f'our-with . . . palle. The first words 
should be umhe-^our, the last part for pgr ' there ' and the 


Avhole for ' thereabout.' An ou for o appears in other 
places, as in fourferde (560), four 'for' (756). Morris 
glosses palle here as ' fine cloth,' as if it were the same 
word as in 1637. This word is palle ' harrier, fence of 
stakes ' from OF. pal, Lat. palus ' stake,' as shown by 

1391. f>e halle to hit med. As hit is both plural and 
singular, the words mean ' the hall in their middle or 
midst.' This is further described in the next line, which 
shoiild not be separated by any pause. A comma should 
be put before f'e. 

1393. to usched. Bateson's proposal of to ysched de- 
stroys the alliteration, which requires a <-word. In the 
glossary to his second edition Morris suggested the word 
might be tousched ' touched,' and the sch for cli of church 
is not unknown to the poet ; cf. Oaiv. 334 where schere is 
our cheer (G.). Knigge, Die Sprache des Dichters Sir 
Gawain etc. (p. 114), also so explains tousched of this 

1394. dere. Matzner glosses the word here as ' Men- 
schen,' but that is too weak. It is of course the adj. iised 
as a sb., but in the meaning ' noble, illustrious ' rather 
than ' dear, beloved,' both meanings being f oimd even in 
Old English. The word is here equivalent to ' nobles,' 
and in 1399 to ' the illustrious one,' Belshazzar himself. 

1396. stayred stones. Morris thotight stayred was 
stared, which he translated ' shone,' but it is rather ME. 
stayren (steiren) ' ascend.' The line may be taken as 
explaining sete of 1395, ' steep raised (ascended) stones 
of his proud throne.' If this is correct, Morris's proposal 
of ^e before stones becomes needless. 

1397. halle flor. A compound, as in the case of sev- 
eral other words already mentioned. 


1398. bounet. That is houned ' prepared, set them- 
selves,' with final t for d as often. 

1402. sturnen trumpen. The first is doubtless siurne, 
since no other certain example of an adj. with -en in the 
plural is found in the poems. Trumpen is itself a suffi- 
ciently remarkable -en plural, since it is a foreign derived 
word and nominative rather than genitive, as are most 
other examples; cf. hlonhhen hak of 1412, hesten hlod of 
1446, Jiellen womhe of Pat, 306. 

1403. wrasten krakkes. With this should be compared 
the description of the feast and the crakhyng of trumpes 
in Sir Oawain 116 f. For wrasten as applied to music it 
may be mentioned that OE. wr&stan, its original, was used 
for playing the harp, and in Jos. of Arim. (EETS p. 49) 
ME. wrastes is used for the notes of the nightingale. 

1406. seerved. This is the alteration by Morris of 
the MS. severed. I suggest that the latter may be sewered^ 
from a verb sewer ' serve.' . . . Such a verb sewer ' act 
as sewer at a meal ' is given by the NED with an example 
of 1553, but may have been used earlier. 

1410. foler. The change to felor^ suggested by Bate- 
son as better, is wholly needless (G.). OF. «e quite as 
often gives ME. o as e. See the numerous examples in 
Behrens, Die Franzosischen Sprache in England, p. 152 ; 
cf. NED under feloure. 

1414. In spite of GoUancz's agreement with Bateson 
in accepting tukhet for ms. tvlhei, I prefer to follow the 
NED in referring the form to OlST. tulha ' speak, sound.' 

1423. wayte3 onwyde. The NED defines this as 
' widely,' but such a definition will not fit here or in 
Cursor Mundi, 8667. In the latter it is glossed ' not far 
off,' and here ' not widely ' is surely correct. He looks 
at things near by and sees not the larger relations. 


1468. foul. The conjecture ful by Morris must be 

1459. Enbaned under batelment with bantelles quoynt. 
Enhaned here, and in a similar idiom of Oaw., T90, has 
never been explained. I suggest that it may be OF. 
enhande (emhande) ' surrounded, encompassed, girt, bor- 
dered.' The form may then be a miswriting of the 
French word, or an English past participle based upon it, 
enhanded, perhaps with one d lost by a sort of dissimila- 
tion. Bantelles, that is bandelles ' little bands,' makes 
this identification more probable. 

1460. ferlyle. Must be the adv. written ferlili in 962. 
The poet sometimes interchanges final e and y(i), as be 
for hy (819), hy for be in 104, 212, 356, 1610, and hi 
for be in 1330. 

1463. apert. Bateson's suggestion of OF. aperii is 
not convincing, especially since no other case of that word 
is recorded in English, while apert ' openly ' is found in 
Pearl, 588, and Gaw., 154, 2392 (G.). 

1473. tryfled. Doubtless based on OF. trefle ' adorned 
with trefoils,' rather than OF. trefoil, trefud, which gave 
ME. trefoil. An OF. form with i probably also existed 
as the nearer ancestor. 

1474. Bi uche bekyrande f'e bolde, ^e brurdes al umbe. 
To assume that, in this elaborate description of the orna- 
mented and jeweled drinking cups, there is suddenly 
injected a reference to bickering of bold men, and as 
sudden return to the description seems to me impossible. 
I propose therefore hi uche behyr ande hole, f'e hrurdes 
al umhe. In line 1461 the poet began the description of 
the coperounes of the covacles, as we must now read the 
word (see reference to Bodtker at beginning of this 
paper), that is 'tops of the golden cups.' The descrip- 


tiou is mainly closed with line l^TB, where there should 
be a semicolon. He then adds of the hrurdes ' borders ' : 
' So trailed and tref oiled across were all the borders about 
hi (of) each beaker and bowl.' For trailed ' overspread 
with intertwining tracery ' see Spenser, F. Q., V, v. 2. 
The NED gives the first example of heaker with the 
stressed vowel e as of 1440, but that need hardly weigh 
against the reading here proposed. The scribal error f>e 
holde for hole may be due to misunderstanding of the 
passage, or to anticipating the following ('e hrurdes. 

1476. fleej of golde. Professor Ekwall {Eng. 8tud., 
sjaTs., p. 484) objects to ' fleece,' the gloss of Morris, and 
proposes ' fly ' from OE. fleoge. The suggestion is pleasing 
if the Middle English sense of ' bee ' is intended, as in 
Chaucer's Pari, of Foules, 353, but unfortunately the 
plural of OE. fieoge should appear as fly^es in the poem, 
as it does in Sir Omvain, 166. In the sense of a flocky or 
fleece-like background ' fleece ' is not impossible. Other- 
wise, if the suggestion is adopted, we should assume scribal 
error for fly^es or flys^3- 

1477. dresset. For dressed, with final t for d as often. 
1484. waged. Referred by Morris to OE. wagian, 

but this became wapen, wawen. The word is Scandi- 
navian vagga ' wag, move.' 

1491. I suggest inserting f>er before sopefast and re- 
punctuating. A comjna should take the place of the semi- 
colon at end of 1490, a comma should be placed after 
sanctorum, and that at the end of the line deleted. 

1507. vus. In his notes Morris suggests perhaps btis 
' drink,' MnE. bouse, but it is rather us ' use ' with the 
alliteration on hede. 

1512. machches. Morris assumes the word is a noun, 
but surely this is a verb ' matches,' and machches with the 
preceding for means no more than ' serves.' 


1518. As BatesoB meiitions, some d-word has been 
omitted, but I think his dressed dere can be improved. I 
suggest, as better metrically, f'enne derely am dressed. 

1525. gaules. Bateson says must be ' wretches,' but 
without explaining. The word gall ' sore on a horse ' is 
recorded as early as 1537 in sense of ' person or thing that 
harrasses ' (NED). Gaul as a geographical name is first 
recorded by the NED as of 1563. One of these words 
doubtless accounts for the form in Clannesse, and it seems 
to me the geographical name in an opprobrious sense is 
quite as likely to be the original. 

1532. in contrary of f>e candelstik. Perhaps the Vul- 
gate, Dan. 5, 5, contra candelabrum, accounts for the 

1540. stonde. Morris glosses ' blow,' but the word is 
a spelling of stounde ' moment, time, hour.' Morris has 
wrongly glossed the latter form of the word for Pearl, 20. 
1543. ryth. According to Bateson the NED alters to 
ryther, but I do not find under rother to which it refers 
the word. The word may be based on an unrecorded OE. 
*hrith, OS. hnth, beside OE. hrider and with the same 
meaning 'ox, bull.' (G-). On the other hand it has not 
been pointed out that the word might be OE. ry&da ' mas- 
tiff, hound,' which might be thought of as roaming and 
roaring like a bull. 

1551. bok lered. Should be a compound, OE. hocge- 
l&red, as Bradley-Stratmann recognizes. 

1559. ede. The change to hede, suggested by Morris, 
is not absolutely necessary. ' He went to seek men 
throughout the city ' does not necessarily mean that the 
king himself made the journey. 

1595, redles. Another case of adj. for sb., since red- 
lesnes would be the expected form. Compare, among 
many others, for ^iklce in 504. 


1629. & at beginning of line has probably been brought 
down by error from the preceding line. 

1646-48. lyhes in the first and desyre in the second 
should be lyked and desyred, to agree with other verbs of 
the context. Bityde (164T) may be a past tense for 
bitydde, or otherwise should be changed to hityded. 

1661. blasfemyon. Should be Mas ferny, with on an 
adv. if it is retained. The length of the line suggests that 
on is probably a mistake. 

1681. His hert heldet unhole. The last word is glossed 
by Morris ' badly/ but I suggest that it is another adj. used 
as a sb. and means ' evil/ the subject of the verb heldet, 
i. e. helded. 

1684. ay. Morris in notes conjectures hay and that 
seems likely, although ay ' ever ' could be retained. 

1687. mony pik thyje. Tn his side-note Morris 
glosses, ' His thighs grew thick,' but this corresponds to 
nothing in the Scripture story and is scarcely a good trans- 
lation. ' There many a thick thigh pressed about his 
flesh ' seems to mean only that the animals of the herd 
pressed upon him as he fed, that is he was wholly one of 

1690. wykes. Morris glosses ' member, part,' al- 
though referring to ON. vik. In Gaiv., 1572 the word is 
used for the corners of a boar's mouth, and such use is 
probable here. To the poet ISTebuchadnezzar has become 
an ox in reality, and the hair of his neck reaches to his 

1692. clyvy. Morris assumes a verb ' cleave,' but I 
suggest OE. cllfe ' bur,' with final y for e as already no- 
ticed in some other words. 

1695. campe bores. Bradley-Stratman gives no such 
form, but under hem-pe adj. refers to this place and to 
Chaucer's KL T., 1276 : 


And lyk a griffon loked he aboute, 
With kempe heres on his browes stoute. 

The two expressions are undoubtedly connected, but this 
is a direct ON. borrowing of kanip-r ' beard, mustache ' 
and hdr ' hair.' It means literally ' whisker hairs,' or as 
we should say ' shaggy,' the somewhat weaker meaning 
given by Bradley-Stratmann. Both this and the Southern 
form of Chaucer should be recognized as compounds. 

169Y. paune. To assume panne as Morris thought 
possible does not assist in meaning. Bateson's paume is 
also a less likely form than to take paune as an en-plural 
of OF. pau ' paw, foot ' with final e not pronounced as 
often. (G). The form Bateson suggests does occur in the 
Gawain (1155), but there means ' antlers.' For the -en 
plural cf. Trumpen 1402. 

1698. ouer-brawden. Morris glosses ' covered over,' 
but I suggest that ' bent over ' would better suit the place 
and complete the idea intended. 

1703. laved. Morris's conjecture loved seems justi- 
fied by sense, and by other places where a and o have been 
confused. This Bodtker pointed out in reference at head 
of this article, when explaining canacles (1461), conaclej 

171Y. in f'ede. The gloss of Morris, ' brewer's strainer,' 
although adopted by the NED, is surely impossible. Or 
if Belshazzar did undertake to serve wine in brewer's 
strainers he should have lost his kingdom. It has not been 
noted, I think, that the poet has made a somewhat radical 
departure from the original in Ban. 5, 23. In lines 
1443-5 he tells us that ' the altar of brass which had been 
blessed by bishops' hands ' had been set up. Here he makes 
out that ' wine which had been, or should have been, blessed 
by the bishop had been brought in ^ede.' The sin is not 
alone in using the consecrated vessels, but in using in them 


wiiie for common purposes. Tke poet's conception is of 
the medieval sacramental service. Wow in pede fits this 
conception, because it is merely OE. on {in) f'eode ' among 
the people, among men.' This is also the meaning of the 
same expression in Qaw., 1499, while in are (>ede of 
Pearl, 111 means ' among the people of old.' The gloss 
of Morris, ' country,' is the less natural one from OE. 
usage, and less appropriate in all these cases. 

1747. a lof calde. Such is the reading of the second 
edition, the first having alof called. With the latter read- 
ing before him Morris had suggested that alof might be f ot 
aloft, but the emendation was dropped from the second edi- 
tion. Bateson, without examining the second edition, 
proposes the form Morris last used. Both are wrong, 
however. The line should read: 

J)e comynes al of Calde J>at to Jje kyng long«d. 

With the preceding line then the sense is : ' Bold Belshaz- 
zar bade that all the commons of Chaldea who belonged to 
the king should bow to him,' that is Daniel. (G). 

1761. f'orj pe lyst of pe lyfte. Morris glosses lyst 
' path, border,' assuming a word not otherwise found in 
English, but occurring in Dutch. This seems to depend 
on his recognizing for lyfte only the meanings ' heavens, 
sky,' rather than the commoner ' air, breeze.' With the 
latter in mind the expression would seem to mean only 
' through the pleasure of the breeze.' 

1764. at forf> na3tea. The homely reality of the pre- 
ceding lines suggest that we may have here also a bit of 
English life. As the light of thg sky darkens and the 
mist drives down, each man hies to his home, sits at supper, 
sings thereafter, then finds his bedfellow at forf> na^tes. 
I conjecture that we may have here a compound word of 


time, a derivative of OE. feorf'a ' foiirtli ' and n<i^t ' night/ 
after the manner of OE. feorf>-nce, ' fourth part of a king- 
dom.' Such a compound, forp^a^t, ' fourth part of the 
night,' would then be an equivalent for ' bedtime,' or about 
nine o'clock at night. This woiild not be impossible if the 
true form is forp-na^tes as Morris prints, v^ith es in italics 
as not written out in the ws. 

1776. scaf'ed. Bateson would alter to scaled, but it is 
unnecessary. The general sense of scaped ' injured, 
harmed ' is made more specific in the following lines. The 
description follows the lines of a medieval attack on a 
walled city. 

I see no reason to change my note on account of Gol- 
lancz's suggestion of scayed as the poet's mistake for 
scayled, supporting it from the ISTorthern form shayles of 
Morte Arthur, 3034. 

1777. upon. Sense and syntax require the adverb up 
should be separated from the preposition on, the latter 
alone governing lafte. 

1808. telled. Morris was certainly justified in sug- 
gesting telles. 

The punctuation of the poem needs more complete revi- 
sion than these notes would indicate. The poet often fails 
to indicate the relations of parts of his sentences, using 
parallel or adversative clauses without the usual connect- 
ives, besides other peculiar forms of sentence structure. 

Perhaps it may be worth noting that, if the suggestions 
of this paper are accepted, the following words appear at 
dates earlier than hitherto recorded: leaker (1474) ; corhy 
(456); fesier ' putrify, rot' (1040), forhnowen 'fore- 
known ' (119) ; plate ' place, situation ' (27) ; sewer ' act 
as sewer at a meal ' (1406). Besides, the following com- 
pounds should be recognized as such in Middle English 


dictionaries: hrere-flour (791) ; campe-hor. South Midland 
Icempe-her 'whisker hair, bristly hair ' (1695) ; clenelaik 
' purity ' (1058) ; halle-flor (1397) ; schrovde-hous ' tiring 
house of priests ' (1076). 

Olivee Faeeae Emeeson.